Because of its seaside location near the borders of three European powers, Dunkirk known as Dunkerque in French and the surrounding area have been the site of centuries of commerce and travel, as well as numerous bloody battles.
Dunkirk - HISTORY
In the face of such a coordinated strategy, superior air power and highly mobile ground forces supported by panzer tanks, all three countries would succumb quickly: The Germans occupied Luxembourg on May 10, the Netherlands on May 14 and Belgium by the end of the month. Soon after the blitzkrieg began, German forces invaded France—not along the Maginot Line , which the Allies had expected, but through the Ardennes Forest, moving steadily along the Somme Valley toward the English Channel.
As they advanced, German forces cut off all communication and transport between the northern and southern branches of Allied forces, pushing several hundred thousand Allied troops in the north into an increasingly small sliver of the French coast. By May 19, General John Gort, commander of the British Expeditionary Force BEF had begun to weigh the possibility of evacuating his entire force by sea in order to save them from certain annihilation by the approaching Nazi troops.
Meanwhile, in London, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain had resigned under pressure on May 13, making way for a new wartime coalition government headed by Winston Churchill. At first, British command opposed evacuation, and French forces wanted to hold out as well. In planning this risky operation, the Allies got a helping hand from a surprising source: Adolf Hitler , who on May 24 gave the order to halt the advance of German panzer divisions bearing down on Dunkirk.
Hitler gave the tanks the go-ahead again on May 26, but by that time the Allies had gained crucial time to put their preparations in place.
On the evening of May 26, the British began the evacuation from Dunkirk, using the codename Operation Dynamo. Vice Admiral Bertram Ramsay directed the efforts, leading a team working out of a room deep inside the Dover cliffs that had once contained a generator known as a dynamo giving the operation its name. On the first full day, Operation Dynamo was only able to evacuate about 7, men from Dunkirk; around 10, got out the following day May Some to 1, boats, many of them leisure or fishing crafts, eventually aided in the evacuation from Dunkirk.
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Some were requisitioned by the Navy and crewed by naval personnel, while others were manned by their civilian owners and crew. At the outset, Churchill and the rest of British command expected that the evacuation from Dunkirk could rescue only around 45, men at most.
But the success of Operation Dynamo exceeded all expectations. On May 29, more than 47, British troops were rescued; more than 53,, including the first French troops, made it out on May ISBN Fine in Fine dust wrapper, not price clipped.
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